Catholic Church directive on child protection wont make abuse reporting mandatory
Catholic Church Bishops are to receive a new directive from the Vatican setting guidelines for "a co-ordinated and effective programme" of child protection.
However, it doesn't make reporting mandatory as has been demanded by victims groups. The directive will instruct bishops to "collaborate" with civil authorities when allegations of child sexual abuse are made against a cleric.
It will stress the importance of diocesan bishops convincing the public of their "effective commitment" to protect children attending church schools.
It will also tell the hierarchy to be "attentive" in the selection and formation of future priests and religious.
An advance outline of the directive, which is to be circulated to the national conference of bishops, was given in the presence of the Pope at a summit of 150 cardinals in the Vatican on Friday evening by Cardinal William J Levada, who is head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Cardinal Levada "made some observations about the greater responsibility of bishops for safeguarding the faithful entrusted to them," a Vatican statement said after the private meeting.
Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Sean Brady, who attended the summit as well as a consistory on Saturday when the Pope created 24 new cardinals, was not available for comment.
Meanwhile, the archbishop of Dublin has predicted that any renewal in the scandal-hit Irish church would be "painful."
Speaking at a special Mass in the Pro-Cathedral to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of the founder of the Legion of Mary, Frank Duff, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said there were many indications that the church in Ireland had lost its way.
"Sadly many people, of various ages, no longer really know Jesus Christ," said Archbishop Martin.
"That is not to say that they are not good people, caring people. It is not to say that the church is only for a holy elite. The church is a church of sinners."
Archbishop Martin insisted that the Catholic Church was the church of Jesus Christ, not a vague moralising agency in society.